Here’s a modest proposal for Berit Reiss-Andersen, Henrik Syse, Thorbjørn Jagland, Anne Enger, and Asle Toje, also known as the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee: why not give your prize, for a change, to somebody who actually deserves it?
No, you haven’t bombed out every time. Albert Schweitzer (1952) was a great selection. So were George C. Marshall (1953), Andrei Sakharov (1975), Lech Walesa (1983), and several others.
No U.S. president in more than a generation has done more than Trump to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
But you’ve made some horrible choices. You rewarded German diplomat Gustav Stresemann (1926) for a treaty that supposedly promised “lasting peace on the Rhine.” Ditto U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg (1929) for a peace treaty that would purportedly end all wars. You even gave prizes to pro-Soviet “pacifists” like Arthur Henderson (1934) and Emily Greene Balch (1946).
The naïve premise of all these picks seemed to be that peace treaties — and peace entreaties — were the best guarantors of peace. Rarely, over the decades, has your committee given any indication of recognizing that peace is best ensured through military strength. As the Roman writer Vegetius wrote, “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
So it was that one of the towering peacemakers of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan, never won a Nobel Peace Prize. Yet you handed prizes out to two other recent presidents — Jimmy Carter (2002) and Barack Obama (2009) — whose chief qualification was that they were not George W. Bush.
Similarly, you’ve honored the UN (2001), such UN agencies as the International Labor Organization (1969), the UN Peacekeeping Forces (1988), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007), and the EU (2012), on the shaky premise that these bodies have actually preserved or furthered or created peace. But never a prize for NATO, which kept the peace in Europe since 1949.
Several times in recent years, your wisdom has been widely questioned. Your award to Obama puzzled even Obama, the planet’s supreme egotist, and led two major Norwegian political parties to call for the resignation of Nobel Prize Committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland. In 2012, the Swedish Nobel Foundation, which controls the whole Nobel racket, was so concerned about your stewardship of the Peace Prize that it launched an investigation to determine whether you were, in fact, operating in accordance with the wishes of Alfred Nobel — who, establishing the prize in his will, stipulated that it should go to those who’ve promoted international fellowship, peace conferences, and the reduction of standing armies.
You survived that debacle. But doubts remain. First, you have yet to prove that you possess a mature grasp of the way in which world power, properly applied, serves the cause of peace. Second, after your ridiculous nods to two terrible Democratic presidents, Carter and Obama — not to mention a preposterous Democrat almost-president, Al Gore (2007) — you have to overcome the commonly held impression that your awards to American politicians are guided entirely by political sympathies. Third, there’s that little matter of Alfred Nobel’s criteria.
Now you’ve been handed a golden opportunity to address all of these concerns.
On Wednesday, a member of the Norwegian parliament, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, announced that he had nominated Donald Trump for the Peace Prize. On his Facebook page, Tybring-Gjedde cited Trump’s “pathbreaking” peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. But this is hardly the only reason why Trump merits consideration for the prize. There’s also his remarkable work on reconciling Serbia and Kosovo, his historic meeting with Kim Jong-un at the DMZ, and his winding down of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
No U.S. president in more than a generation has done more than Trump to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. But news media around the world reacted with scorn and mockery to Tybring-Gjedde’s nomination.
For one thing, they almost uniformly described Tybring-Gjedde as “ultra-conservative” or “far-right.” (At least one Turkish paper called him a fascist.) Knowing nothing about Norwegian politics, many of them were presumably taking their lead from the Norwegian news media, which are dominated by socialists and outright communists. In fact Tybring-Gjedde is a member of the pro-U.S. and pro-Israel Progress Party, the nation’s third-largest. Tybring-Gjedde himself is one of the most high-profile Norwegian legislators, and in my view is one of the two or three most philosophically admirable of them.
Like many “America friends” in Norway, Tybring-Gjedde was educated largely in the U.S., earning a BA in political science at Loyola University and a master’s in international politics at the University of Denver. He also attended the NATO Defense College in Rome and served as a deputy director of the Norwegian Ministry of Defense. He’s best known for his outspoken criticism of Norway’s reckless immigration policies and of such noxious Islamic phenomena as the hijab, forced marriage, and honor killings.
All of this makes him anathema to the Norwegian political, media, and academic establishments. So it’s not likely that a Peace Prize nomination by him — no matter who the nominee might be — would carry any weight whatsoever with the Nobel judges, who are, after all, drawn from the highest echelons of that establishment.
Nonetheless, in an appearance on Fox News, Tybring-Gjedde did a capital job of justifying his nomination of Trump. While maintaining that he’s not a supporter of the president, Tybring-Gjedde underscored that Trump had “done more trying to create peace between nations” than most Nobel nominees. “The people who have received the Peace Prize in recent years have done much less than Donald Trump,” he stated, truthfully enough. “For example, Barack Obama did nothing.”
Tybring-Gjedde (who nominated Ayaan Hirsi Ali for the Peace Prize in 2006, and nominated Trump in 2018 after his Singapore summit with Kim) noted in particular that Trump’s peace work amply fulfills Nobel’s three criteria. “Indeed,” he said, “Trump has broken a 39-year-old streak of American Presidents either starting a war or bringing the United States into an international armed conflict.”
No, one can’t easily imagine the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee naming Donald Trump as its laureate. The international media would be in shock. Establishment Norway would reel. Which is precisely why giving Trump the prize would be such a terrific idea. It would explode for a generation the notion of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee as a bunch of left-wing ideological hacks and would give the prize itself a new sheen of legitimacy. C’mon, Berit, Henrik, Thorbjørn, Anne, and Asle — use your imaginations, show some guts, and make it happen!